O’ you mankind! ... for sure it is a great crime.
O’ People! Do not spoil your terms with your Rabb-SWT , Who-SWT provides for your entire needs; Who-SWT has created you from the same soul. See the level of brotherhood that the entire mankind originates from Prophet Aadam-AS. From him is created his wife. The Omnipotent could have easily created Prophet Aadam-AS's wife Hadhrat Hawwa-AS (Eve) from clay too, or even the entire mankind by the same procedure. But Allaah-SWT preferred to create the latter from the original being, making them both a source of procreating more human beings thus spreading men and women all over the world. They may be different in colour, speech or physique, but they are like organs of one body. Therefore, it is only reasonable that they should love one another, and safeguard each others' rights. The branches and leaves of a tree can never be enemies to one another. In fact when they entangle, even then they yield a positive result: they make the tree shadier. Similarly, mankind faces conflicts and has differences, which should only be for the betterment of the humanity. There is no excuse or reason for any destruction. Islam has, therefore, defined the rights of even the non-believers, and prohibits any cruelty or misconduct towards them. That a believer should be unfair to a fellow or husbands to their wives, or heirs to their orphan relatives, is out of question. Allaah-SWT does not like such behaviour at all.
Here He-SWT reminds us that when we demand our rights from others, we often tell them to fear Allah-SWT , or refer to our relationship with them demanding a fair deal for its sake. This is fine, but when it comes to discharging our duties, we must also remember that Allaah-SWT is the Rabb-SWT of everyone and all relationships originate from one source: Prophet Aadam-AS. Since Allaah-SWT is Aware of our actions and our inner feelings, we must be mindful of Him-SWT not only while demanding our rights but also while performing our duties.
Treatment to Orphans
Orphans need your personalized attention since they have no one to speak for them or to fight for their rights. Do not deprive them of their rights and properties and do not exchange the legitimate with the illegitimate or the superior with the inferior. The commentators explain that we should not spoil our legitimate and pure wealth by adding to it the wealth of orphans illegally. Or if their possessions include some high quality goods, we must not exchange them with poor quality items. This was commonly practised before Islam. Do not do it, as it is a big crime and a nuisance. Not only is it a crime but it also invites Allah-SWT's Wrath much more than any other crime does. The property of the orphans must be returned to them when they attain maturity, after which no body remains an orphan. The sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW have highlighted the merit in looking after relatives and living together with love and care. Extending this sphere of brotherhood to the entire mankind and active participation in the betterment and welfare of fellow beings is indeed the excellence of nobility. Allaah-SWT is fond of those people whose affection is a source of comfort to others rather than those who are a burden on mankind. Especially those people, who covet the wealth of others, do not deserve any praise at all.
If you fear that you shall not be able to deal ... so that you may not deviate.
Correction of an Erroneous Custom
Another commonly practised form of usurping the wealth of orphans prior to Islam was to marry orphan girls. The heirs would marry the orphan girls for their wealth but not give them their due rights. It was an excuse for usurping the property of the girl. Therefore, Islam prohibited such marriages where the rights of the girls could not be safeguarded. Islam, however, allowed polygamy with women who are lawful. It allowed marrying two, three or four women at the same time but ordered equal treatment to all. Islam does not allow a situation where one wife is the favourite and the rights of others are neglected. If one finds it difficult to maintain equality among his wives, it is best for him to have one wife, or captive women who are his property, so that he may be prevented from erring.
Islam did not introduce polygamy. It was in practice long before the advent of Islam by all the nations of the world, and all the religions approved of it. Not only in Arabia, but also in Persia, Egypt, Babylon and India was polygamy practised. The Hindu god Krishna was believed to have hundreds of wives, which is testified by the Hindu scriptures. Similar was the situation in Central Asian States and in Paris and Rome. However, the need and benefit of this practice cannot be ignored, as there is a higher ratio of women in certain nations as compared to men. Wars claim the lives of so many men, leaving women behind in need of protection and care. Men are free of the natural limitations which women face. Therefore, if more than one woman were not allowed in marriage, adultery would become widespread in the society. The Western society is a living example of this scenario. It prohibits its members from a second marriage but connives at illicit relations. It allows having a mistress but not a second wife. Islam reformed the ugly situation in which people took too many wives in marriage and did not care for them. Or else they engaged in adultery and had mistresses, who enjoyed no rights. Islam restricted the number of wives to four, i.e. no Muslim can simultaneously have more than four wives.
It is maintained in the sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW that some of the Companions'-RAU at the time of their conversion to Islam had more than four wives. The Holy Prophet-SW told them to keep the four they chose, and let the others free. Firstly he-SW fixed the number to four, and then stressed on the importance of equal rights of all the wives. Failure in maintaining justice amongst them would invoke Allah-SWT's Anger. Secondly, he-SW made it clear that those wives should be retained who are lawful and are liked more than others. This liking plays an important role in protecting their rights; if all the wives are pleasing, equality becomes easier to maintain. It is natural that the heart feels more-inclined towards one than the other, but practically all of them should be treated equally. If this seems difficult, and it certainly is, it is best to have one wife, or the slave woman that one possesses and is lawful without Nikah. One important thing to remember here is that the terms and conditions pertaining to this permission of captive woman do not exist today. It is, therefore, not lawful to buy women and keep them as slaves.
Islam's Favour to Women
Islam propagated the cause of women's rights at a time when woman was treated as a commodity. She was buried alive; her honour was saleable, so much so that widows of the deceased were taken as personal property, and were divided amongst the heirs alongwith the remaining legacy. Women were down trodden, whether in the West or in the East. Islam not only defined their rights but also placed them respectfully in the society. In the past, nations of the world gave her no respect, and even today they are treated merely as a source of voluptuousness, as a sales promotion campaigner adorning advertisements. Whether it be East or West, apart from Islam, no society offers women a present or a future, respect or honour.
Inspite of all this Islam is criticized for allowing polygamy. It is amazing that the honour and the noble household of the Holy Prophet-SW too is attacked. Not only do the non-believers indulge in it but some Muslims have also lost all sense. A visitor from Eondon once remarked that our religious scholars should not discuss this (marital) aspect of the Holy Prophet-SWT ’s life. Praise is to Allah-SWT ! He had no understanding of the fact that this sacred aspect of his life was so clear, bright and clean that even the polytheists of Makkah and Jews of Arabia could not point a finger at it. Such people take the Holy Prophet-SW to be one of their kind. Just see that he spent twenty years of his life as a bachelor, and then got married to Hadhrat KhadIjah-RAU who was much older than him. They spent twenty five years of blissful and exemplary married life, presented as a proof to his-SW prophet hood by Allaah-SWT.Rest all the marriages took place after the age of fifty at the twilight of youth.
After the death of Hadhrat Khadijah-RAU, The Holy Prophet-SW married Saudah-RAU; she remained his only wife for four years. When he was fifty-four. in 2 A.H, Hadhrat "Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU entered the noble household. A year later, he was married to Hadhrat Hafsah-RAU and then to Hadhrat Zainab-RAU bint Khuzaimah, who died after year and a half. In the 4th year of Hijra he married Hadhrat Umm-e-Salmah-RAU, and in the 5th Hadhrat Zainab'11'1 bint Jahsh. Till the age of 58, the Holy Prophet-SW had four wives. In the following years i.e. the 6th and the 7th Hijrah, Hadhrat Jawairiah-RAU and Hadhrat Umm-e Habibah-RAU were married to him. Also in the 7th Hijrah, were married Hadhrat Safiah-RAU and Hadhrat Maimunah-RAU. In short, the first fifty-four years of the noble life of Prophet Muhammad-SW were spent with one wife, the next four years with four wives and then five more entered his-SW family. These marriages were not only a source of education for the followers on the domestic front but politically they brought such victories to the Islamic State, which could not have been won by hundreds of battles. Hadhrat Umm-e Salmah-RAU was a widow with children, who were brought along and a practical aspect of the upbringing of orphans was demonstrated. The marriage of the Holy Prophet-SW to Hadhrat Jawairiah-RAU resulted in the freedom of her entire tribe. The marriage to Hadhrat Umm-e Habibah-RAU crippled the Makkans, as she was the daughter of their chieftain Abu Sufyan.
As for the chastity and honour of the Holy Prophet-SW, not even the infidels could bring out any objections. He-SW had some extraordinary individual exceptions too, such as fasting for Divine Communion, Salat during the night, the exemption from the rules of inheritance, physical journey to the sublime Divine Throne during the Night of Ascension and prohibition for his wives to remarry after his death-a special Divine favour to those fortunate ladies indeed. A study of the noblest life of the Holy Prophet-SW and the political achievements of the Islamic State through these marriages are enough to belittle the objectors.
Yet the Quranic Ayah "you cannot marry anyone else now, provides enough evidence to the fact that these marriages were not only a Divine favour on those noble ladies but the entire Muslim community. Even the non-believers benefited from them alongwith the Muslim State. If only the Muslims instead of being apologetic study this admirable aspect of the Holy Prophet-SW’s life, it would clean their hearts and make them feel proud rather than embarrassed. A treatise titled Kathrat-e-Azwaj le Sahib al-M'iraj by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi-RUA, would be of much help.
And give to women their Mehr ... then enjoy it in pleasure and profit.
Rules for Mehr
Mehr is a gift from Allaah-SWT to women, which makes them materially stable in their new households. It is mandatory and the amount should be settled when drawing the formal marriage contract, failing which, at consummation of the marriage the amount traditionally paid as Mehr in that family must be paid to'-the bride. Since this is an obligation, minimum payment will fulfill the purpose. However, it is commendable that the Mehr should be paid in accordance with the status of the bridegroom or his family. This then becomes the personal property of the woman, which she may dispense as she pleases. Whether she gives it away to someone or invests it in business is her choice. Before the advent of Islam, contract marriages for a limited period, with a settlement of certain amount, were customary in Arabia. In this, the two parties would agree upon the time and the payable amount of the contract. Since the Arabs travelled widely for business, so wherever they stayed for sometime they would temporarily get married. Islam declared this as totally unlawful. Similarly the prohibition of alcohol was enforced later, but it is nowhere indicated that it was ever considered to be nice, let alone permissible. After the migration to Madinah, alcohol was declared unlawful, so was the contract marriage (Mut’a), since it was never in accordance with the Islamic marital system.
Islam made it obligatory that the husband should pay Mehr at the time of marriage according to Islamic rituals, commensurate to his financial status, whether in the form of cash or property, which will be the persona belonging of the wife. She will not be just a maidservant of the man, but a honourable member of the family having a financial status. Therefore, Mehr were ordered to willingly pay the Mehr money to their wives, making sure that neither her parents take it away nor the husbands usurp it, or force her to forgo her right. All these situation are wrong. In some Arab tribes, even today heavy amounts of money are paid to the girl's family following th| traditions of the Era of Ignorance, when women were traded. But Islam enjoined Mehr to the woman in marriage so as to secure her status. It neither allows the parents to sell her off, nor the husband to deprive her of her rights. Although the fixation of a small amount as Mehr will fulfill the oblivions, it is in no way commendable. Hadhrat 'Umar Faruq-RAU on his marriage to Hadhrat Umm-e Kulsum-RAU‘s daughter of Hadhrat Ali-RAU, paid forty thousand Dinar in Mehr. Today, some people have made it a practice to settle petty amounts, twenty or twenty five rupees, as Mehr. Although it is permissible, yet not preferable. What is recommended is that a reasonable amount, according to the status of the husband's family without putting a burden on them be happily and sincerely paid to the bride so that she may join the family honorably.
Nevertheless, if the bride willingly returns or forgoes part of her Mehr to her husband, it is permissible for him to take it back. It is a gesture of love and promotes trust in one another. Sadly enough, today this important obligation is being badly neglected. Mehr is merely settled on papers, as a formality. Just as sisters are not given any share from the parents' legacy, wives too are requested to forgo their Mehr, and the poor girls thinking that they should not annoy their husbands, agree. This is prohibited. When she is the daughter, why is she deprived of her part in the legacy of her father? Same applies to Mehr. Such usurpation is totally forbidden.
And do not entrust to the weak ... and Allah is sufficient as a Recknor.
The Importance of Wealth in Islam
Wealth is not so worthless as to be wasted. In fact, taking care of it and safeguarding it is very important. Wealth is a big power and human life depends on it. Being wealthy is not something to be ashamed of, but it is important to earn through lawful means and to avoid squandering it. One should spend according to one's requirements, and guard against wastage. According to a Hadith in al-Bukhari, "If someone is killed while guarding his wealth or possessions, he is a Shahid. The wealth should not be entrusted to a relative who is not sensible enough to take proper care of it, whether it be an orphan, one's own child or a female relative. When acting as the custodian of the property of orphans, one must fulfill their requirements reasonably well, and be very kind and affectionate to them. Same the purpose is to look after their wealth and not to impose oneself over others.
And the orphans attain maturity, and are eligible to be married; they must be evaluated for their mental stability and capability to discriminate between right and wrong. If they are sensible enough to protect their interests, their wealth must be returned to them. Squandering their wealth is prohibited and the trustee should not spend it with the intention of consuming all of it lest the real owners grow up to claim it. In fact if the caretaker can do without taking anything from the wealth he is looking after, it is much better for him. However, if it is unavoidable the caretaker should only take the minimum amount to satisfy his genuine need and that too must be accounted for. When it is finally returned to the true owners, it should be done in the presence of witnesses.
Although Allaah-SWT is Aware of every act of ours, yet it is better to have witnesses to satisfy the law and avoid any misunderstandings. Most of the religious scholars have denounced wealth and riches, the reason being that mostly it is 'the richer class, which goes astray. Rich people have more opportunities to indulge in sinful activities, and mostly they do. Therefore, wealth is considered to be a curse by some. Otherwise earning through lawful means is an act of worship. To abide by the limitations imposed by Allaah-SWT despite having wealth and power is a great struggle. In fact, it is the greatest form of striving in the cause of Allah-SWT .
Many a scholars highlight the impoverished state of the Companions-RAU but the real issue to be discussed is their relationship with Allah-SWT . One glance of the Holy Prophet-SW suffused their hearts with Divine Blessings forever. After that no calamity, hardship or trial could deter them from Allah-SWT's Path. No amount of worldly riches or power could render their hearts forgetful of Allaah-SWT ’s Zikr.
Within quarter of a century since the dawn of Islam, borders of the Islamic State had expanded from China to Spain and from Siberia to South Africa. In the history of the world, there is no parallel to such a vast empire. The wealth and riches, gold and jewels of the Roman, Persian and Yemen Empires, in tons, were distributed amongst the Companions-RAU. They became millionaires but their passionate love for Allaah-SWT never cooled down, nor did their obedience to Him-SWT or to the Holy Prophet-SW diminish. The excellence of an individual is to establish a strong bond of love with Allaah-SWT Almighty and the Holy Prophet-SW a relationship that cannot be shaken by wealth or power. Therefore, it is commendable to earn by lawful means and to protect one's wealth. A saying of the Holy Prophet-SW highlights the fact that planning for economic welfare of the family is commendable, adding that it is better to leave behind one's family in prosperity than in poverty.
Today, it is a common practice that people denounce wealth but at the same time make religion a source of earning. They elaborate on the merits of life style of a dervish yet receive fees for their consultation. Whereas it is commended to earn a living, it is highly despised to keep an eye on the wealth of others. In fact, people deputed to perform religious and State duties falling under the category of Fardh-Kifayah. Such as taking care of evacuee trust, masaajid, religious schools or such institutions, should preferably not accept any salary from those organizations. Their source of income should be something else. However, if they cannot spare time to pursue another career and there is no other option, the amount required to fulfill the needs of their family is permissible. The order "take from it honourably" should always be borne in mind; yet another phrase: "Allah-SWT is sufficient as a Recknor, must also be remembered. One day we all have to give account to Allah-SWT , of our actions and conduct.
Here is a point to ponder for those scholars or religious leaders who, for worldly gains and pleasures, are exploiting the masaajid, religious schools and sermons etc. What a wistful situation it would be, that such leaders and scholars would be doomed to ill fate for earning unlawfully; while many of their followers who learnt from their sermons, and practised righteousness would be duly rewarded in the Hereafter. May Allaah-SWT protect us from being disgraced in the Hereafter and may He-SWT bless us with His-SWT Favour and Grace!
To males shall be portion of... and speak to them a word of kindness.
The Law of Inheritance
Although wealth is not at all un-important yet it is not so valuable that for its acquisition the rights of others be ignored. Like in the pre-Islamic days, women and minors were not considered as heirs at all. Only the grown up male children would get something, otherwise the entire inheritance was taken away by other heirs. Another practice was to exempt items like horses, swords, armours and similar things from division amongst heirs. Islam solved this matter beautifully. Shares were specified for male and female whether they be young or old, in the estate left behind by their parents or close relatives. Each and every belonging of the deceased must be portioned amongst the heirs, be it big or small. These portions are determined by Allah-SWT . The recipient's acceptance is not a prerequisite, since the heirs become the lawful owners automatically. They may, however, give away their parts of the share as gift or distribute the same amongst those they please. Inheritance emanates firstly from parents and secondly from other relatives, whether by marriage or blood. The Laws of Inheritance clearly declare that being merely a relative does not necessarily make anyone a legal heir, but being an aqrab i.e. a near kindred, does. When a deceased is succeeded by a near relative, a distant relative would not inherit anything. Those who share the same-level of nearness to the deceased are all heirs. They will receive their shares as defined by Allaah-SWT.If this was not the case and all relatives were to be heirs, all mankind would be heirs to one another as all have a common father, that is, Prophet Aadam-AS
Hadhrat Amir M'uawiyah-RAU once received a message from a person who claimed to be his brother and wanted his share from the State ruled by him. The Amir called the claimant and enquired how he was his brother? The person said that wwe were both sons of Prophet Aadam-AS'. Hadhrat Amir M'uawiyah-RAU gave him half a dirham. Surprised, he protested against being awarded this farthing out of such a big State. The Amir advised him to leave quietly, lest the other brothers came to know of it as then he would not even get this. This would have been the state of affairs, had the law not been specific that in the presence of near relatives, distant relations are of no consequence. This rule applies to a grandson also. A grandson does not inherit anything from his grandfather whether his father is alive or not. Again, being needy does not make anyone eligible for receiving inheritance since it is very difficult to prove who is more deserving than the other. Secondly, the one who is needy today might be well off tomorrow and vice-versa.
The following Ayah caters for this aspect by suggesting that those relatives who are not legal heirs but are present at the occasion of division of inheritance, particularly the orphans and the needy, should be given something as a gesture of kindness and should be treated with dignity, and spoken to kindly. If paternal uncles and aunts give something to their orphan nephew from their respective shares they will receive great blessings and rewards from Allaah-SWT.The nephew will not only get a moral support but will also he financially helped. In fact he might end up getting more than others. Above all, Allaah-SWT is the Sustainer of all. Those who inherit nothing except debt of their parents are also fed by Him-SWT . This was a simple law, which the modern scholars are trying to complicate by un-necessarily raising hue and cry.
And let them beware who, ... and soon they shall roust in the Blaze.
The Quranic Mode of Training
Reminds each one of us that we have to die one day and it is quite possible that we may leave behind young children. How would we like our children to be treated? The very same way we must treat those orphans who helpless today. Each one of us must fear Allah-SWT , knowing that He-SWT is the Mightiest of all and can put us through such trials. Therefore, one must act very wisely and kindly in such a situation. Remember that whoever usurps the wealth of orphans fills his belly with fire and shall be soon condemned to Hell.
Some scholars consider this a figurative expression but this is not so. In fact the human activity earns twofold results simultaneously i.e. the mundane and the eternal. In this case the worldly result of such usurpation is that the hunger is satiated, but the eternal consequence is that the belly is being filled up with fire. The Holy Prophet-SW said that some people would be resurrected in such a state that flames and smoke would be seen emitting from their mouths, ears and noses. Although one fails to see this fire here with the visible eye, but it does have an impact. Such a person is never peaceful and happy in this world, and is condemned to torture and misfortune in the Hereafter.
May Allaah-SWT protect us against such misfortunes, and give us the strength to refrain from actions that lead to His-SWT annoyance!